Define Cowardice

I have been challenged by The Daily Post to write about or define cowardice.

Apparently, everyone that is faced with something that frightens them experiences a “fight or flight” moment.  Is cowardice defined as the inclination to flee instead of fight?  If so, is there a time limit? Many people may initially flee but return to fight after formulating a plan of attack.  Others, like myself, tend to freeze in fright.  Where do we fit in?  I like to think eventually I thaw out enough to fight though.  Especially if the situation is threatening someone I care about.  I am known to be a bit of a momma bear.

In all my efforts to have a family, throughout three stillbirths and three miscarriages, I was repeatedly told how brave I was.  I did (do) not consider that bravery, more perseverance, and determination.

I believe cowardice means a lack of courage or bravery.  Not limited to a reaction during a traumatic event, it could also apply to a fear to try anything daunting, new, or different. Things like a new job, hobby, even a new personal relationship due to the fear of failure.

How do you define cowardice?